I got CC’d a reply to an e-mail from Ms Kathy Sinnott MEP today which asserts her strong opposition to EU Directive COD/2002/0047 which includes the issue of software patentability. Even in one small paragraph she shows a good understanding of the issue and I am delighted that such a hard working and articulate MEP is on board.
In her own words:
I am most certainly not [undecided on this issue]. In response to your concerns about software patentability, I would like to reassure you that I am wholeheartedly opposed to this legislation. It will stifle innovation and prevent SME’s and individuals from having the chance to compete equally with the Microsoft’s of this world. You may rest assured that we will be fighting this directive (again).
As it currently stands, we now have eight of our sixteen (inc. Northern Ireland) MEPs committed to opposing* software patentability with five yet to inform us of their position and three taking the matter under consideration. Optimistically, the final count could be as good as twelve or thirteen opposing this.
The next big task will be to ensure that all those opposing software patentability will actually turn up in parliament as an absolute majority will be required to defeat or amend the directive; this essentially means that any MEP who does not show up in parliament to vote will be effectively casting their vote in favour of the directive. What a wonderful democracy we have.
More information on the Irish campaign can be found at KDE.ie and at the Irish Free Software Organisation. The current status of the sixteen Irish MEPs is also available at KDE.ie and with more detail here.
* by oppose I refer to an MEP being against the patentability of software ideas and business methods; this does not reflect whether an MEP is against the directive itself or would prefer to see it amended.